Good manager learns how to make priorities
Has your “to do” list has turned into a ball and chain that weighs you down throughout the day? You drag the list with you, and it never seems to get any lighter. Constant interruptions keep you from completing your tasks and crossing items off your list. This constant frustration can lead to chronic stress. Yet how do your coworkers remain so calm? Why do their lists get completed day after day?
Your efficient coworkers have taken the time management task one step further. Like you, they write their “to do” list every day. What’s the difference? They prioritize the list, control interruptions and delegate low-level tasks.
Accept the fact that you do not need to do it all. You simply need to set priorities. Some things can wait or just be discarded. What you need to do is list your priorities in order of importance. Once you have listed everything, you can take the bottom five or 10 items and either discard them or turn them over to someone else to do.
The first step in managing priorities is delegating jobs you shouldn’t have had in the first place or jobs that others are capable of doing. If they aren’t important enough to be delegated, then they probably should be discarded.
Now that the bottom of your list has been tackled, it’s time to start at the top. Choose your most important task first and complete it. Don’t get sidetracked. Focus on this project until it is completed. Rank every other project low in priority until this is complete. Initially it may seem like you are neglecting other things. However, you will accomplish much more in the long run than by trying to give pieces of yourself to each project.
Once this project has been completed, do the same with the next one on your priority list. Remember, focus on it and give everything else low priority until it is finished.
Set aside time when you will not be disturbed by employees or visitors. Enforce this policy and don’t make any exceptions. Have messages taken for you and set aside time when you can return them.
Start to say “no.” You can’t be everything to everyone, and you can’t do it all alone. You need to learn to say “no” sometimes or start delegating the work. Get rid of the attitude that no one else can do it as well as you can.
Allow for time in your day for overlooked or emergency tasks. Don’t over-schedule your time. You need to provide a time margin for unplanned problems.
While it is an effort that is ambitious and organized, the process of creating a “to do” list will not guarantee complete time management. The bottom line is that setting priorities and following through with them will not only alleviate stress, but will place you on the road to successfully completing your tasks.
So if you are already making out those “to do” lists, you are headed in the right direction. Turn your lists into road maps that lead you from one important goal to another. Avoid roadside interruptions; they will only slow you down.